All Killer, No Filler
On recent tours Alice Cooper's now infamous stage shows have been stripped down as part of his new back-to-basics approach to Rock. The new album takes over from where 2003's 'The Eyes of Alice Cooper' left off; while it feels slightly more polished than the previous album, Cooper's aim with 'Dirty Diamonds' was to attempt to capture the raw spontaneity of early Rolling Stones records, while acknowledging the influence of the new wave of Detroit rockers, such as The White Stripes.
Opening with 'Woman of Mass Distraction' and 'You Make Me Wanna...', Cooper shows the world that he's still on top form; both are instantly likeable melody-fuelled songs with big, catchy choruses and long-time Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie's distinctive edgy guitar sound.
After sliding into the Rock 'n' Roll swagger and sneer of 'Perfect', Cooper takes chance with 'Pretty Ballerina', a cover of The Left Banke's 1960s hit. This is a twinkling, pretty love song, but is given a dark, suggestively sinister edge by Cooper's eerie vocals, as is the lonesome, bluesy sound of 'Six Hours'.
'The Saga of Jesse Jane' gives the album a slight Country and Western twist, a track on which Cooper wanted to sound 'like Johnny Cash' which incorporates classic Alice Cooper humour in describing the exploits of a cross-dressing Cowboy; while 'Steal That Car' gives the album a high-octane burst of testosterone.
'Zombie Dance' and 'Run Down the Devil' describe graveyards, black cats and the Devil himself in a return to the twisted, Shock-Rock trappings that have often defined Alice Cooper; 'Zombie Dance' takes on a swampy, Stones-like sway, complete with Cooper on the blues harmonica, while 'Run Down the Devil' is a typically dark Rock song with a punchy chorus.
Standout tracks have to be the trashy Glam Rock 'n' Roll of the album's title-track, 'Dirty Diamonds' and the melody-fuelled group choruses of 'Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)' that harks back to classic 'From the Inside' era Cooper.
From start to finish 'Dirty Diamonds' is a fantastic journey through the weird and wonderful world of Alice Cooper, from the Rock 'n' Roll swagger of 'Perfect' to the Country and Western twang of 'Jesse Jane'. While its mixture of old British Rock 'n' Roll and new Detroit Rock makes it an album that will appeal to all ages, the Classic Rock feel and infectious hooks and melodies will reach out to those listening to Alice Cooper for the first time. Similarly, the larger-than-life, horror movie influence in tracks like 'Zombie Dance' and the distinctive humour or 'The Saga of Jesse Jane' and 'Sunset Babies' will also keep dedicated Cooper fans happy. If you had any doubt, 'Dirty Diamonds' proves that after all these years the Coop is still going strong.